Friday, December 28, 2018

Devil's Gap

Some years ago I had placed an audio recorder out at a place called Devil's Gap which is located in between Gibraltar Creek and Tidbinbilla and accessible by foot from the Tidbinbilla Ring Road or via the fire trail which starts just up from the woods reserve campground located on Corin Road.
It was mid winter at the time and I was attempting to record the sound of a lyrebird display. It is my habit to put out a sony voice recorder which will run for 4 days with high powered lithium batteries on super high quality. The 8gb memory card holds 16 x 8 hour files which matches the battery life.

I did manage to capture a lovely recording which had the claim to fame of being played on ABC Radio Canberra. I also captured some unidentified noises which had left me wondering for a long time as to what had made the noises.

I would describe the sounds captured as being like a very heavy man running past the recorder several times and at times striking the recorder. This was accompanied by the sound of tree branches/bushes being snapped in what sounded like an aggressive action and a separate approach by a set of walking sounds, stopping to rummage the granite rock that was placed on the plastic weather sheild that protected the recorder.

All this happened in the small hours of the morning in fairly dense scrub at an hour that I wouldn't expect bushwalkers let alone cross country runners.. I returned there 6 days ago and again set a recorder.. I picked it up today. Here is a short video of the set up..


 And another of my trip to collect today..


 If there is anything to report I'll post again.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Gibraltar Creek Aboriginal Grinding Grooves

A trip today with Vlad to Gibraltar Falls on Corin Dam Road to see some documented Indigenous grinding grooves. There are several grooves located within a few square metres along the edge of the creek above the falls.

Vlad tells me there are more undocumented grooves below the falls which can be approached via the Gibraltar Creek walking track which begins at Woods Reserve.

My first impression of the location was the impressive views that would have been on display as the person grinding worked. I took some video..

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Sainsbury Park Aboriginal Scarred Tree - Wanniassa

A trip today with Vlad to inspect the known Aboriginal Scar Trees in Wanniassa. Of particular interest to me was an old tree with a double scar near a small children's play area in Sainsbury Street opposite Spensley Place. The tree has two scars indicating two utensils were made. One, to me, appears to be the size of a large shield and the other a smaller coolomon.

The larger scar is impressive. In my opinion it is the most destinct scar I have seen in the Canberra region because of the way the bark regrowth on the scar's edge has grown symmetrically giving a good impression of the original size of the scar.

I took a few photographs..

Friday, November 30, 2018

Lanyon Homestead's Aboriginal Scar Trees

A trip today with Vlad to inspect the Indigenous Scar Trees at Lanyon Homestead. Lanyon is an 1830's convict established Property originally owned by the early settler James Wright.

There are quite a few documented stories about Wright's interaction with the original People. These old, old trees are a tangible reminder of their heritage.

I took some video...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Review of an old post called the lost tribe

Recently an old blog post started showing up in the statistics.. At the time it was titled the same as the Australian National Library's Trove article it displayed..

"Canberra Blacks the Lost Tribe.

 There were two schools of thought in the 1920s as to the habitation and numbers of Indigenous People living in the (now) Canberra region at the time of European settlement/invasion. This article along with it's display of era racism nonetheless gives us some tantalising clues as to historical accuracy.

 The main early settler characters quoted are a relative of James Wright first settler of Lanyon Homestead in the 1830's and, after bankrupting, establishing Cuppacumbalong at present day Tharwa once "beyond the limits of habitation andA Mr Bluett who lived at Brindabella Valley and was somewhat the local historian.

 My thoughts on a video...


This is the old post in question..

 And if you are interested in the original argument it can be found here..

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Yowie Town Hall at Nana Glen NSW 2018

It's just gone past midnight and I had travelled 850km to attend a gathering of Yowie Researchers and interested people for the unveiling of a bust by artist Buck Buckingham of an alleged yowie that was photographed by Ray Doherty of the Australian Yowie Project.

There were three very interesting speakers dealing with varying aspects of yowie research in Australia followed by the final speaker, Ray, who detailed the story of how the photograph came to be.

Effectively the photograph was taken in Queensland and showed a blurry head sitting in a tree in a remote area. The photograph sat for a few years until some new software came onto the market that could refocus images.

From the clearer image Buck was asked to sketch the photograph and eventually create a lifelike bust from the drawing. I think the result is remarkable.

If you are interested in the details please go to the Project's website at..

I took a little video on the day and was allowed to film the bust and the artists sketch of the photograph as long as due credit is supplied.. Credit: Australian Yowie Project and artist Buck Buckingham.

Time for some sleep. It's a long way back to Canberra in the morning.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Relocating the Westridge Aboriginal scar trees

Another trip this morning to try and relocate several Aboriginal Scarred Trees on Stirling Ridge in Yarralumla. Apart from last week where I found one tree I haven't been there since 2012 so armed with my short memory and Vlad Mastara we started searching.

We managed to locate/relocate 3 trees distinctive because of their obvious age and after a fair bit of circling around possible trees are pretty confident that the trees pictured below are authentic.

The trees and their scars are very old. The deadwood 'face' of the scars are showing the destructive signs of weathering with one find now totally eaten through by termites. The others remain.

From memory there are more up there.. another day.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Aboriginal Killing of a 'hairy man' at the Yass and Murrumbidgee Rivers

The depicted image is of a 1790 woodcut from Sydney Cove.

There are a lot of reports with Australian Gorillas, yahoos, hairy men and yowies located on the National Library's Trove search engine and I have mentioned a few of them from the local area on this blog over the last 8 years. Of all the local reports one stood out more than all the others. It was a small addendum to a longer clipping quoting an early Canberra Settler by the name of George Graham Webb who relates his encounter along with his brother whilst mustering cattle at Uriarra..

Almost as an afterthought he relates the reminiscence of another early settler, Henry Williams, who tells the story of the killing of a grey ‘hairy man’ near the junction of the Yass and Murrumbidgee Rivers..

This image in so little words has stuck with me since I read it. Was, what we might call today a, yowie killed by a group of Aboriginals near the time of European settlement? "It was like a black man, but covered in grey hair."

I think that is somewhat odd..

Strange sounds at Devil's Gap

 I recently wrote a short article for an Australian online newsletter called the Yowie Times about some recordings I captured in 2013 whilst trying to record Lyrebird song in june 2013. This is what I wrote with the video links embedded.. 

"In 2013 I spent some time trying to capture the sound of a Lyrebird mating display at a geological gap in the mountains that leads from the Gibraltar State forest to the expanses of Tidbinbilla, a place known as Devil's Gap. 

I had wondered why the original 1880s settlers named the passageway that and it piqued my interest as to what other recordings I may capture in my efforts. Not only did I collect a superb lyrebird recording, which was consequently aired on ABC666 radio in Canberra, I also captured what appeared to be a series of bipedal running back and forth past the recorder, or at least that is how I hear the recordings.. you may be different. 

This was the video I luckily made of the recordings 5 years ago when I got them as I have lost nearly all my recordings with the passage of time..

The area is now gated from public vehicles and its a bit of an uphill slog from there to reach the gap proper. There are only two approaches to the elevated area, one via Tidbinbilla and the other via Corin Road near Woods Reserve, with towering mountains on either side covered in dense old growth bushland. 

I suspect the quality of the habitat for the legendary yowie has improved greatly these past years with the limiting of public access. I have since been back, camping two nights, a fortnight apart, at the small campground located near the gated entrance road. 

Both nights saw a great display of nocturnal dwellers but none of the type that may have made those noises. Really I need to get up to the Gap area to be properly situated to collect any decent recordings. 

In fact the editor of the Yowie Times has offered to drive down from Sydney for the day and make sure I don't have a coronary on the journey. 

I have even signed up for a conference next weekend near Coffs Harbour where an alleged yowie photograph will be released to the public. Stay tuned.. 

And if your interested in the lyrebird recording that was played on ABC radio here is 13 minutes of a Canberra Lyrebird."


If you are interested in subscribing to the Yowie Times you can drop Dan an email at au[email protected]

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Westlake and the Scar Tree - Stirling Ridge

A walk today up Stirling Ridge in the Canberra diplomatic suburbia of Yarralumla. I am slowly revisiting sites of documented Indigenous heritage that I know of for a fellow researching the Yuin and Peoples of the surrounding area. These sites are ones that I haven't seen since 2010-12 so any changes in 2018 should be evident.

We met up at the site of the old Westlake Settlement where the early construction of Canberra's workers were housed.. There is new signage since I was last there which I think is appropriate and informative.

The walk starts above the old settlement and continues climbing (easy) past an original Canberra sewer vent with a wafting aroma for a few metres.

As for the scar trees on my short visit I could only relocate one. This doesn't mean the others are gone just that I have a short memory.

Another suburban expedition will be launched on the appropriately weathered day.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Latham Indigenous stone grinding grooves - Canberra

A trip this morning to meet up with Vlad who is researching South Coast and Canberra region Indigenous remnant artifacts that luckily remain dotted around the suburban countryside. Today we met up on the banks of Ginninderra Creek in the Canberra suburb of Latham armed with, what turned out to be, a vauge map to the location of 18 documented Indigenous grinding grooves.

The stone is decribed as Volcanic tuff which I am told is very hard which explained why the original survey indicated they were shallow. We managed to locate only two grooves out of the marked eighteen.

It is possible the remaining grooves are overgrown as the creek edge foliage was lush and covering up to the waters edge. The locations indicated several groups of two grooves, two groups of 3 and one group of seven grooves.

I took some video of the two grooves we found..

Some photos..

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Symonston Aboriginal stone tool quarry

A visit today to the Symonston Aboriginal Quarry site in Canberra. I haven't been here in 8 years so I was interested in seeing its condition after that time. Apart from a bit of rubbish and a covering of dead pine needles it does not appear to have changed although, from memory, there was more "chert" flakes years ago.

Unless you were specifically researching the site its not a site you would just stumble upon. It is very close to a major industrial/commercial development. I took some video..

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Woods Reserve on Corin Road - Canberra

I decided to spend my birthday eve at a nearby campground I had overlooked all my life. Just another year until a passing thought reminded me that the next time I need renew my driver's license I will be 60.

Named after Edward and Julie Woods who are simply described as two 1880s settlers in the area. A small stone cairn bears a plaque.

The campground is a 30 minute drive from the southern suburbs of Canberra via Point Hut Crossing  Tidbinbilla Road and Corin Road. The amenities are first class as far as this happy camper is concerned with heaps of leveled campsites with firepit and bench table and nearby parking.

There are two blocks containing well maintained flush toilets with one set having a single shower (male and female.) And a disabled toilet with shower.

Lyrebirds, brushtailed possums, kangaroos, red necked wallabies seem somewhat oblivious to the human activity with the possums warily approaching the campfire as they pass through. For those a bit fitter there is a walking tail climbing up to Gibraltar Falls.

For those seeking a quick escape from society, the phone and internet as I do I can't recomend this little campground highly enough. Well done ACT Government.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Corin Dam Today

Just posting these photographs here for future reference. The first is an image of Corin Dam this morning and the second is a photograph I took from much the same location in May 2011.

I'd say it may be an indication of the consequences of the current drought.

Corin is one of three dams connected in a 'chain of ponds' Corin to Bendora to Cotter Dam which has been upgraded in capacity in this decade. I'm sure we have plenty of water but I think its worth noting.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Final thoughts on the Mount Tennant UFO?

I collected the camera this morning as the weather was forecasted for rain. Sitting here writing this I note we have had less than 1 mm of liquid. No sign of a break to the current drought.

The camera was set to take 1 photograph and 30 seconds of video every 10 minutes and I was trying to identify the source of a light I photographed that appeared to be hovering and pulsating above Mount Tennant near Tharwa in the Australian Capital Territory.

I took some video today which is posted below as I recovered the camera. When I got home I again detected a light, which appeared to remain visible for less than an hour, above Mount Tennant. I am sort of confident that the light is too high to be the firetower when I compare daytime still captures with the night.

 I'll leave it up to you..


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The area I am curious about near Tharwa got an hour of my attention today. I have had two other attempts at capturing an explanation to the unknown light I captured last week above Mount Tennant.

I set another camera today and took a little video showing the area and the target frame of the camera..

Monday, October 1, 2018

Theodore Aboriginal Axe Grinding Grooves.

I visited an Indigenous heritage site today that I have visited every few years by habit. Today the flat beds of stone were prominently exposed with the surrounding  grassland totally eaten down to the ground I suspect by local Grey Kangaroos. Grinding grooves are created in the process of grinding shape and edges to stone implements, crushing ochre and grinding seeds are some of the known uses.

I was disturbed however to see a nearby, un-grooved as far as I remember, rock that had been smashed with a melon sized rock which was located nearby..

The rest appeared as they had last time I visited with a considerable amount of washed in sand grit and leaves in the large bowls..

Located in the Canberra Nature Reserve. Entrance off Christmas Street Theodore, Canberra ACT.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Strange light in the sky near Canberra

I'm currently curious about a bright light I have captured in a still frame and a thirty second video just after midnight on tuesday 18th of September for one night near Canberra. (The dates on the timestamps are wrong.)

There was only a ten minute window of opportunity for the light to be captured as the camera reset to take one photo and thirty seconds of video every 10 minutes.

This is a daytime shot..

A nightime shot with light..

A composite of the two shots..

A gif of six frames of the video enlarged..

And finally an enlargement of the still capture preceding the video..

I posted the photos on my facebook page and got some interesting, and very plausible, suggestions as to what the light could be. 

One suggestion was the planet venus, another the fire tower on the top of Mount Tennant as the light seemed to be situated over the top of the mountain as viewed from Nass Road. 

Another suggestion was an incoming aeroplane's lights.

The oddest suggestion was that it is a bell shaped unidentified flying object or UFO as the abbreviation goes.

I'm not sure exactly what it was. Theshort duration and location of the light in the photo I think may dismiss some of the suggestions.. 

I plan to relocate the camera and try and determine if this is a repeating phenomenon.

I just think it is interesting..

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Johhny Gilbert's Grave - Binalong Bushranger

A recent visit to a historical Grave Site on the outskirts of the town of Binalong NSW that I have driven past quite often for over 30 years. I took some video..

History lost through lack of funding

  The following ABC article laments the possible loss of many historical audio visual records that are waiting for digitising into modern fo...